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Rating:Fido Unwraps RIA Platform Not Rated 4.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fido Unwraps RIA Platform

News summary by MFWire's editors

Scott Dell'Orfano, president of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, on Tuesday unveiled Fidelity WealthCentral, a Web-based wealth management platform for RIAs. The Boston firm implemented the platform with 25 clients and plans to roll it out to its remaining 3,500 RIA clients throughout 2009 and 2010.

Also on Tuesday, Fidelity released the findings of a study it had commissioned accounting and consulting firm Moss Brown to conduct on its behalf. Fidelity found that RIAs that have integrated core technology applications made 36 percent higher revenue per professional and 30 percent higher profits per owner, compared to those that have not integrated.
Company Press Release

BOSTON, December 9, 2008 -- Fidelity Investments (Fidelity) today announced the formal launch of Fidelity WealthCentral®(WealthCentral), the industry's first Web-based wealth management platform that integrates Registered Investment Advisors' (RIA) most critical operational systems.

WealthCentral brings together portfolio management, customer relationship management (CRM), financial planning, portfolio rebalancing and trading into one unified workstation. The platform has been implemented with 25 clients, and will be rolled out to Fidelity's remaining 3,500 RIA clients throughout 2009 and 2010.

Fidelity today also released results from a study1 conducted by Moss Adams2 on its behalf that found that RIAs that have integrated core technology applications made 36 percent higher revenue per professional and 30 percent higher profits per owner, compared to those firms that have not integrated.

"Since we announced the development of WealthCentral, the response from advisors has been overwhelming," said Scott Dell'Orfano, executive vice president, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. "Now more than ever, advisors see that efficiency is a way to help enhance profitability. WealthCentral is designed to address this need by helping to relieve advisors of the burdens of managing technology and conducting data reconciliation. We are confident WealthCentral will help transform the way advisors approach their business."

"With WealthCentral, Fidelity is offering both a line-up of 'best-of-breed' third-party business applications and an unprecedented level of technology integration. The result of this combination is a well-rounded wealth management platform for registered investment advisors," said Alois Pirker, senior analyst, Aite Group. "Aite Group's most recent research indicates that RIAs are demanding this type of advisor platform. Fidelity is leading the way in addressing these requirements."

WealthCentral Designed to Help Transform the Way Advisors Conduct Business

WealthCentral offers advisors several benefits, including: more streamlined workflows, a comprehensive client view, and centralized support, all via a single interface. Traditionally, advisors have had to manually enter data into various applications, which may increase the potential for errors. Unlike any other platforms in the industry, WealthCentral's core applications are all compatible with each other, so that advisors will only have to enter client information into their system once. The system then automatically updates, and through the integration of Advent®Back Office Services (ABOS), reconciles information across the platform's various applications. And because WealthCentral is Web-based, with all applications and client data hosted by Fidelity and third-party providers, it can dramatically help simplify an advisor's need to manage technology.

Advisors can also benefit from the integration of market-leading third-party capabilities, including:

• Portfolio Management -- Utilizing Advent's APX-hosted multi-custodial platform via ABOS, this application can help enable quicker trading decisions and more reliable client reporting.
• CRM -- A customized version of Oracle's® CRM On Demand system specifically designed for RIAs to manage all aspects of their client and prospect relationships.
• Financial Planning -- Utilizing Emerging Information System Inc.'s NaviPlan Central, this application offers advisors holistic, goal- and cash flow-based plans to help them address the complex planning needs of their clients.
• Portfolio Rebalancing -- Leveraging the technology and portfolio modeling and rebalancing expertise of Northfield Information Services, these tools allow advisors to use rules and risk factors to help identify, measure and manage overall portfolio risk for their accounts.
• Account Servicing and Trading -- All of the third-party capabilities within WealthCentral are integrated with Fidelity's account servicing and trading platform. Advisors can conduct online cashiering, service requests, and new account opening, helping them enhance customer service by maintaining control over their service transactions and reduce errors. "WealthCentral isn't just another technology architecture for advisors, it's a platform that can help facilitate a better way of doing business," said Edward O'Brien, senior vice president, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. "We believe there's a reason why no other custodian has been able to deliver anything like this before: Because building a single platform requires a significant capital investment and a tremendous commitment of staff time and resources to seamlessly integrate separate business applications."

"A team of over 250 individuals has spent two years working closely with our third-party business providers to develop hundreds of modules in order to get the systems to virtually talk with one another. WealthCentral's architecture is unique in our industry -- that's why we have a patent pending," added O'Brien.

New Fidelity Research Shows Shift Toward Integration

According to the new Fidelity research, RIAs report that they are well aware of the benefits of integration with over two-thirds (69 percent) indicating they are either integrating systems or have attempted to do so at some point in their firms' history. Advisors see the No. 1 benefit of integration as greater operational efficiencies, followed by improved productivity and reduced manual input time. And 64 percent indicate that a single, integrated platform would be valuable to their business.

However, despite the potential to increase profits and productivity, integration remains a challenge for some firms. The research found that the No. 1 reason for not pursuing integration is the inability to identify an appropriate solution.

"Most advisors did not pursue this profession to manage technology," said Dell'Orfano. "With our $50 million investment in WealthCentral, we focused on what advisors have told us they need to serve their clients and successfully grow their businesses. Through its industry-leading third-party integration, WealthCentral allows Fidelity to offer advisors an easier way to help them manage their technology, so they can focus on what they do best, helping their clients."

About Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services

Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services is a leading provider of trading, custody and brokerage services to Registered Investment Advisors, Trust Institutions and Third Party Administrators. The company is able to leverage the capital, resources and expertise of the Fidelity organization, one of the world's largest financial services companies, on behalf of its clients. This includes access to a comprehensive set of products and services, innovative investment tools and research, an integrated brokerage and trust platform, and dedicated client service professionals -- all designed to help its clients thrive by growing their businesses, more effectively meeting customer needs, and enhancing operational efficiency and profitability. Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services custodies more than $335 billion in assets on behalf of over 3,500 clients, as of September 30, 2008. For more information about Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, please visit http://fiws.fidelity.com.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is one of the world's largest providers of financial services, with custodied assets of nearly $2.7 trillion, including managed assets of over $1.2 trillion as of October 31, 2008. Fidelity offers investment management, retirement planning, brokerage, and human resources and benefits outsourcing services to 24 million individuals and institutions as well as through 5,500 financial intermediary firms. The firm is the largest mutual fund company in the United States, the No. 1 provider of workplace retirement savings plans, the largest mutual fund supermarket and a leading online brokerage firm. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
 

Edited by: Armie Margaret Lee


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